Cotton gauze is arguably one of the most popular fabrics in the world today, and its popularity soars even higher during the hot summer months. Gauze materials are known for being lightweight and breathable, which means they are one of the most comfortable clothes you could wear.
Clothes are not the only thing made from cotton gauze. In this article, we will take a brief look at the origin of the cotton gauze fabric. We will also look at some types of cotton gauze, how to make them, and some ways we can care for our cotton gauze material.
What is Cotton Gauze Fabric?
Cotton gauze material is a lightweight material made out of cotton fiber. High-quality cotton gauze fabric usually consists of 100% cotton.
The fabric is soft and allows easy passage of air through it; they are also hypoallergenic, meaning that they rarely ever trigger allergic reactions in anyone.
The most common cotton gauze type is woven cotton gauze which involves a unique technique wherein horizontal warp threads are twisted around vertical weft threads to create a loosely interlocking pattern.
This technique also results in the cotton gauze having a soft and crinkled texture. Cotton gauze can be white or dyed into many colors.
A Brief History of Cotton Gauze
Many historians trace gauze fabric’s history to as early as the 13th century. The Gaza region of the Middle East region was famous for weaving Gauze fabrics.
There are differing opinions about how the name Gauze came about. Some say the term “Gauze” comes from the word “Gaza ” in reference to the region that first gained prominence for weaving gauze.
Other sources claim that the word comes from the Arabic and Persian words ” Gazz ” meaning raw silk because early weavers used silk materials to weave the first gauze products.
However, as silk became more expensive, weavers began weaving with cheaper alternatives such as cotton. Hence, cotton gauze gradually grew in popularity and soon became today’s world’s most popular type of gauze.
How is Cotton Gauze Made?
Weavers usually weave cotton gauze using a loom or a weaving machine. In much bigger factories, large machines spin and weave the fabric.
The first step in the journey is defoliation which involves separating the cotton bolls from the surrounding leaves and stems. A giant automated machine carries out this process and removes large contaminants from the cotton bolls before converting them into bales.
Note: Bolls are the fibrous coating surrounding the cotton seeds; the textile industry converts this part of the cotton plant into cotton fabric.
Once defoliation is complete, a machine converts the bolls into cotton bales. Another large machine called a cotton gin takes the bales and separates the cotton seeds from the bolls. The purified bales make their way to textile facilities for processing and weaving.
There are two types of weaving methods, and the textile facility can use either method when producing cotton gauze fabric. They are the Leno Weave and the Plain Weave.
The Leno Weave
The Leno Weave is a weaving process in which the threads of the just treated fabric cross over each other. The threads interlace, giving the fabric a sheer appearance that makes the weave particularly strong.
This weaving process forms spaces between the interlaced threads that allow the passage of air and light, making the Leno Weave very breathable and soft on the skin.
The Plain Weave
The Plain Weave is a less common way of making gauze fabric with the aid of looms instead of large machines.
You can divide the fabric into two threads: the weft thread and the warp thread. The warp threads run vertically on the loom while the weft threads run horizontally.
The weaver uses the warp thread to interlace the weft thread on the loom tightly. The result is a flat but less breathable product than the Leno thread.
The Plain Weave is more straightforward to produce and less expensive than the Leno Weave, but the Leno Weave is usually more preferred.
Types of Cotton Gauze Fabric
Another name for cotton gauze is Baby Muslin; this is because the cotton gauze fabric and the muslin fabric share identical features. Muslin is 100% cotton gauze produced using the Plain Weave method since it is easier and cheaper.
Due to the soft and breathable nature of the Muslin fabric, they are the most preferred material for making baby clothes and curtains.
The soft sheer feel of muslin allows easy air passage, doesn’t irritate the skin and is comfortable in hot weather.
There are four main types of muslin fabric:
Gauze is the lightest form of cotton gauze. It is often called ultra-sheer cotton gauze because of its softness and light weaves.
Gauze is highly breathable, making it ideal for use as sieves and filters. But their most famous use is for dressing wounds. Due to their soft texture and easy air passage, these fabrics do not irritate injuries.
Mull is a soft, sheer cotton gauze with a plain, open weave. Because of their exceedingly delicate nature, designers use them to make those parts of the cloth that touch the skin directly.
You will find them in dress underlinings, trimmings, and toiles. They also add weight or structure to garments. Mull has also been used for pattern testing garments or at the hinges of certain books.
This fabric is lightweight cotton gauze with sheer, breathable features. It distinguishes itself from other types of muslin by having raised dots or bumps.
The unique design of swiss muslin makes it ideal for manufacturing curtains and women’s summer clothes, while their breathability makes them ideal for warm weather.
Sheeting is the heaviest form of muslin. Weavers and manufacturers obtain the high density of sheeting fabric by reducing the number of warp threads during the weaving process.
You will find sheetings in furniture upholstery, home decors, and theatrical backdrop.
Uses and Applications of Cotton Gauze
The comfortable texture of cotton gauze, as well as its hypoallergenic properties, make cotton gauze extremely useful today.
One of the most popular use of cotton gauze is in the medical field; cotton gauze is vital in producing bandages and dressing wounds.
Their highly absorbent and breathable nature aids in removing the moisture from injuries and increases the healing speed. The texture of cotton gauze is also soothing to the wound.
As cotton gauze does not irritate the skin, baby cloth designers use them to produce several infant clothing ranging from swaddles to socks.
Home decors, curtains, bedsheets, underlinings, and other apparel are all cotton gauze products. Accessories such as mosquito nettings, laundry bags, mesh bags etc., also come from cotton gauze.
Caring For Your Cotton Gauze Material
Items made from cotton gauze are usually very delicate. Hence, it is best if you always treated them with great care. One of the ways we can care for cotton gauze is by washing them properly.
You can wash the fabric with a washing machine, though handwashing is also possible. Endeavor to check the fabric care label when you do. Some tips on how to wash cotton gauze is found below.
Tips on Washing Your Cotton Gauze Fabric
1. Always use cold or lukewarm water and a mild detergent when washing cotton gauze.
2. If it’s white cotton gauze, you can add some bleach, but if it’s dyed, add a little bit of white vinegar to prevent the dyes from washing off.
3. When handwashing, use a large container such as a sink or a tub so the clothing can completely immerse in water.
4. Check the fabric care label before putting cotton gauze in a dryer. If you must use a dryer, make sure you adjust it to a low heat setting, so it doesn’t shrink.
5. When using a washing machine, set the machine to a gentle wash cycle and use a mild detergent.
6. Make sure you are either washing only one cotton gauze item or several items of similar fabric and color. Don’t mix cotton gauze with other types of fabric to avoid damage.
Maintenance of Cotton Gauze Fabric
Another way we care for cotton gauze material is by ensuring that they do not get damaged easily. To ensure the longevity of cotton gauze, here are some practices you can observe:
1. Never spread cotton gauze on a clothesline as it would cause cracking on the gauze.
2. Avoid using ironing cotton gauze. If the cloth appears wrinkled, you can steam them into shape. A good way to steaming cotton gauze is by placing the cloth in your bathroom while taking a steam bath.
3. Always hand wash very thin cotton gauze. The agitator of a washing machine can quickly cause wear and tear.
4. Keep cotton gauze materials away from sharp objects such as scissors, nail clippers etc., that can easily rip them open.
5. Always hang your cotton gauze on a hanger or fold them neatly and store them neatly in a closet or drawer. The moisture of the area must be dry.